Auxilia Katongomara Bulawayo Bureau
Three people escaped unhurt after a private charter plane crash-landed at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport on Tuesday evening. The plane, a Beech Baron 58, was coming from Charles Prince Airport in Harare when it “belly landed” after it developed a mechanical fault, just before 7pm. Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) chief executive Mr David Chaota said the plane’s pilot communicated that the plane had developed a mechanical fault before landing.
“The pilot communicated that his plane had developed a mechanical fault because the undercarriage failed to extend, resulting in belly landing,” he said.
“In simpler terms, the wheels failed to release, resulting in the light crash. There were no casualties, the pilot and his two passengers escaped unhurt.”
Mr Chaota said the plane was intact with no exterior damages.
He said the plane did not block the runway as alleged by some people, but had to be moved away for further investigations.
A source said after the crash-landing, authorities quickly removed the aircraft from the runway and minutes later, an Air Zimbabwe plane landed.
“There was panic as some people thought it was an Air Zimbabwe plane which had crashed,” said the source.
In January, a Central Air Traffic Services (CATS) aircraft that was transporting gold from Bulawayo to Harare crash-landed in Kennilworth, Bubi District in Matabeleland North due to engine failure.
The Cessna 206 aircraft, which had two people on board, was transporting 22 kilogrammes of gold worth about $800 000.
One of the two people sustained minor injuries following the crash.